Learning to Use a DSLR Camera – Tips to Take on the Road

Cameras come in an array of styles, from basic point-and-shoots to more manual models with a range of settings. The kind of digital photography you aim to do will determine the right camera for you. 


The digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR or digital SLR) is one of the most prominent and typical cameras used by people as they take pictures of almost everything they do, such as when embarking on a road trip.

The most flexible choice for road trip photography is undoubtedly the DSLR. These tips on how to use a DSLR camera for beginners will help to catch all the wonderful moments on a road trip. Read on to learn more.

Learning to Use a DSLR Camera - Tips to Take on the Road
Image Source: Silly Camera

How to Use a DSLR

If you have just got a new DSLR camera, below is a beginner’s guide to help you learn the settings of your camera so that you can take high-quality, professional-grade photos too.

Auto Mode

You need to determine which shooting mode you want in order to use a DSLR. A mode dial complete with several various settings is featured on the camera body. Auto mode indicates all of your settings, including the focus and white balance, are decided by the camera. 


For beginners, this can be useful, but the more advanced you get, the more likely you may want to take those shots with more command over your camera.

Aperture Priority Mode

Priority opening mode (A or Av) is a semi-automatic shooting mode that leaves you with the amount of lens light while the camera determines the shutter speed. Aperture is measured in “f-stops”, as the f-numbers decrease, the lens size increases. 

For instance, a larger or wider aperture lens (f/4.0) results in a shallower field depth. Aperture f/4.0 lets in double the amount of light as the f/8.0 aperture, which is a smaller size of the lens and allows less light, resulting in a deeper field depth.

Depth of field corresponds to how much of the image, in front of and behind the subject, relative to the camera, is in focus. You would want the most of the picture based on landscapes, so you will want a deep depth of field. You’d like a shallow depth of field for portraits.

Shutter Priority Mode

This works in contrast to the aperture priority, where the camera picks the aperture when deciding whether you want a slower or faster shutter speed. Consider movement, for it can be an important form of composition

You want to use a quick shutter speed when you want to freeze motion in a picture, perhaps that of a hummingbird flapping its wings, or a fast-moving car. Fast could be anything from 1/500th of a second and higher in this sense.

On the other hand, you would use a slower shutter speed if you want to show motion in your photos like water movement, or give the illusion of motion by blurring a person who is moving; slow would normally be anything from 1/15th of a second and slower.


Exposure compensation helps you to monitor the amount of darkness or brightness that takes place in your pictures. Automatic modes may often lead to exposure being overcompensated or under-compensated. 

The exposure triangle, which is a reference to how the ISO, shutter, and aperture setting all work together to create a precise exposure, also determines the exposure.

White Balance

Learning to Use a DSLR Camera - Tips to Take on the Road
Image Source: Fstoppers

By determining the temperature of your white light, white balance helps display colors concisely on your DSLR. 

Light temperatures can differ between natural sources and bulbs, producing in your photos undesirable or unnatural color tones. To set the proper basis for the rest of your colors, familiarize yourself with the white balance function. 


On your next road trip, you can use all these DSLR photography tips for beginners. Just remember that although wide-open landscapes and snow-capped mountainsides are fantastic subjects to photograph, the little memories after a long day on the road are what’s important.